I’ve had some recent discussions with three individuals (two different families) who have loved ones residing at a nursing home located near Indianapolis. To clarify: all three individuals have loved ones residing in the same facility.

To give you an idea of just how dysfunctional this particular nursing home is, consider that 16 (yes, sixteen) administrators have come and gone in just under 10 years!  Nothing like “stability”, huh?

One of three family members I spoke to reports that when visiting the facility at 8:30pm on a recent weeknight, three nursing staff members were serving the unit where their loved one resided.  Despite three staff members being on duty, their loved one’s call light wasn’t responded to in a timely manner. It took the family member physically going to the nurse’s station to get a response to the call light!  What was the hold up causing the delay in response?  The staff members acted as if they had nothing to do but sit around and engaging in chit-chat with each other!

Another family member, who’s loved one is dependent on an oxygen tank, discovered the device’s filter had about 1/4 inch of dust, meaning that it hadn’t been cleaned in quite a while.

In the same nursing home, the refrigerator (which is the nursing home’s property) in another resident’s room had mold growing in it!  The appliance was replaced, but only after more than one week had passed after the first complaint was made.  Mold, dust and dirt on the floor of the showers in the same facility was also a common site.  One room with a dirty shower had not been cleaned for over two weeks, despite repeated complaints.

The nursing home mentioned above is a for-profit facility and part of a large corporation that owns several nursing home in the United States and Canada. This facility in central Indiana is ranked in the lower one-third when compared to the other nursing homes in Indiana.

We find it rather ironic that the corporation who owns the nursing home in question has the word “Care” in their name!  Non-responsive staff, the presence mold another other filth (on oxygen tank filters, in resident rooms — including their showers) is anything but a sign of real “care” for residents of this facility.  As one friend pointed out to me a few years ago, to use the word “care” and the phrase “for-profit” in the same sentence is a contradiction!

Regarding this nursing home near Indianapolis, once again we must ask: Where is the money going? The room that had a mold growing in the refrigerator is located on the “rehabilitation unit” of this facility.  The room rate for this unit is around $700 per day!

When it comes to non-responsive/slow-to-respond nursing staff members, our observation is this is typically a problem at night, on weekends and holidays and any other time when management is not in the building.  Obviously, we don’t expect management to work “24/7”, but in large facilities that have an Assistant Administrator (in addition to the main Administrator), why not schedule them for different shifts?

Nursing home administrators could also show up unexpectedly a few hours before the start of their regular shift — on a random day, once or twice per month. Could they not also occasionally work a different shift than they normally work?

Even in a smaller facility where it isn’t cost effective to have an Assistance Administrator, the Director of Nursing (which every nursing is required to have on staff) could be scheduled for different hours other than those worked by the administrator.

Keep in mind that the average annual salary of nursing home administrators is around $75,000.  While the average salary of a Director of Nursing is over $60,000. So why not hold these individuals accountable to hold their staff more accountable for their actions?

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